AP NEWS

Tiffany Everhart learns the joy of giving comfort to those with less: A Greater Cleveland

November 9, 2018

Tiffany Everhart learns the joy of giving comfort to those with less: A Greater Cleveland

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Eleven-year-old Tiffany Everhart leaps from the passenger seat the moment the car stops in front of Laura’s Home, a shelter for mothers and children, and starts unloading boxes and bags.

She struggles to keep the boxes upright as she negotiates the front door and with a big smile, announces her name to the receptionist and asks to see Abby.

“Do you think we have enough?” she anxiously asks a reporter who is tagging along on this mission. “Do you think the kids will like them?”

Tiffany is referring to the hats, gloves, scarves, socks and stuffed animals that fill the boxes and bags. Some items are hand knitted, and all have been collected by Tiffany to distribute to needy children today.

The inspiration for this good deed comes from personal experience.

During a storm a few winters ago, Tiffany saw a young boy huddled against his mother at a bus stop. His bare hands were clenched against the cold. The scene was so disturbing that Tiffany asked her mother, Violet, if they could buy the boy some gloves. Violet said she didn’t have enough money for gloves.

Tiffany also remembers a winter when her family could not afford to buy the winter accessories that she needed, and so she joined hundreds of other children who received hats and gloves distributed by the Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland.

Even today, Violet and Isaac Everhart struggle to provide for their daughter. Isaac is unable to work because of a back injury. Violet works in a factory, but her hours have been cut and her pay reduced.

But on this today, Tiffany gets to play the role of a generous benefactor.

Abby Uveges, a shelter administrator, greets Tiffany with a big hug and thanks her for thinking of others.

As they talk, Tiffany opens the top box to show off the soft mittens and scarves.

Her eyes mist over as Abby informs her that the shelter is already at capacity and winter has yet to begin. Ninety children, and their mothers are living at Laura’s Home.

She is told that each child will receive a hat, a pair of gloves and a scarf. The stuffed animals will be used to comfort kids who may be frightened by their living arrangements.

Tiffany smiles broadly and poses with Abby an the staff takes photos.

When it’s time to leave, she looks around and wonders aloud what else she can do to help. The answer comes quickly. In a little more than a month, the shelter will host a Christmas party for the children living there. They will play games, make crafts and enjoy a visit with Santa. Would Tiffany like to volunteer?

Her eyes are shining as she nods her head, and writes down the date.

As she skips down the sidewalk to the car, she is already wondering how she can gather new toys to help fill Santa’s bag for the party.

Note: If you would like to donate a new toy, or other needs, to Laura’s Home, check out their wish list on their website.

Read more about the Everhart family here.

A Greater Cleveland is a project of cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer. Because of the sensitive family matters discussed in this series, we have provided the people we write about anonymity and are using pseudonyms to identify them. See the entirety of our project by clicking here.

CLEVELAND, Ohio –Tiffany Everhart can’t suppress the smile as she helps load boxes and trash bags into the SUV which will carry the cargo across town to the City Mission’s Laura’s Home family shelter.

The boxes are filled with new hats, gloves and scarves – some of them hand-knitted – warm socks and stuffed animals.

The 11-year-old has spent the summer collecting the donated items, and today she has a long-awaited after-school appointment with the shelter’s director.

Months ago, Tiffany shared with a reporter the story of the time when the early onslaught of cold weather caught the family by surprise. Her mother, Violet, couldn’t afford all of the winter outerwear she needed. Instead, she, and hundreds of other needy kids, received gloves and hats from a donor who provided them to the Boys & Girls Clubs for distribution.

About the same time, she saw a small boy huddled against his mother at a bus stop as a winter storm raged. His bare little hands were clenched against the cold. The scene was so disturbing that she asked her mother if they could buy the boy some gloves.

But Violet Everhart had to refuse. She had only enough money for some groceries.

Tiffany has never forgotten that incident and has dreamed of the day when she would be able to help other children. She has spent the summer soliciting small businesses in her neighborhood, and church groups who, after reading her story, knitted hats and gloves to help her cause.

Delivery day is finally here.

As Tiffany climbs into the vehicle and buckles her seat belt, she takes one last look over she shoulder to assure the donations are secure. On the ride across town, he talks non-stop about the children she imagines will receive the gifts.

As she arrives at the shelter, Tiffany directs her driver to park nearest the front door and jumps out of the car. She is quick to gather up as many parcels as she can handle and heads inside, struggling to keep the boxes upright.

She smiled broadly as she announces her name to the receptionist and asks for “Abby.” As she waits, she slyly peaks around corners and through windows into the gathering room off the lobby.

“Do you think we have enough,” she asks, anxiously? “Do you think the kids will like them?”

From behind her, a voice assures her “they will love everything you brought us today and each and every item will be put to good use.” Abby Uveges, a shelter administrator, gives Tiffany a big hug and thanks her for thinking of others.

They talk as Tiffany opens the top box to show off the soft mittens and scarves she pulls from it.

Her eyes mist over as she learns that the shelter is already at capacity even though the winter chill has just begun to set into Northeast Ohio. Ninety children, and their mothers are living at Laura’s Home.

She is told that each child will receive a hat, a pair of gloves and a scarf. The stuffed animals will be used to comfort kids who may be frightened by their living arrangements.

Tiffany smiles broadly and poses with Uveges as the staff takes photos.

When it’s time to leave, she looks around and wonders aloud what else she can do to help. The answer comes quickly. In a little more than a month, the shelter will host a Christmas party for the children living there. They will play games, make crafts and enjoy a visit with Santa. Would Tiffany like to volunteer?

Her eyes are shining as she nods her head, and writes down the date to ask her mother.

As she skips down the sidewalk to the car, she is already wondering how she can gather new toys to help fill Santa’s bag for the party.

Note: If you would like to donate a new toy, or other needs, to Laura’s Home, check out their wish list on their website.

AP RADIO
Update hourly